1/25/13 – “GIVE SATAN NO PLACE” – PART 3

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Eph. 4:27 Don’t give the devil any opportunity ‹to work›.

In this third and final part of our series on how we can make sure we give satan no place in our life we will cover the third way scripture reveals as to how satan comes. The first two ways we covered in part one and two revealed how he comes as an angel of light through false and deceptive teachings; and how he comes as a serpent, very sly and cunning. This week we will cover how he comes as a roaring lion.

1 Pet. 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
1 Pet. 5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

The first thing we are told here in these verses is to be sober, be vigilant because of this adversary of ours who comes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The word “sober” here means to remain calm, in control of self. This has a lot to do with your soul. You should not be reacting to things based on your feelings. You should be grounded in the Word and walk in the light of who you are in Christ. The second word here “vigilant” means to pay attention. Simply put, you need to know how satan works and pay attention to what you are allowing in your life.

This is especially important when it comes to satan trying to take advantage of you as a roaring lion. You are to resist him, not people, steadfast in the faith. One of the key things that satan does to try and get at our life is to continually remind us of our past, or to get us involved with things of the past. Either one is not good. He has not changed, he is still the accuser of the brethren and if you don’t know who you are, he can get pretty loud and seem quite convincing all the while using his lies to devour your life.

Rev. 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

Notice in verse 10 above that we see satan described as the accuser of the brethren. What is he accusing us of? One of the primary things that satan accuses us of is that we are not right with God. He will bring to us these thoughts and make them quite loud at times trying to convince us that we don’t deserve what God has for us. But the fact is he is telling some truth as he did with Jesus in tempting him. But he never tells the whole truth for he is the father of lies.

No one on this planet has done anything of their own merit or effort to deserve anything God has done for us. In fact, if we got what we deserved we would be going to hell and then eventually the lake of fire for all eternity. We are not redeemed because we deserve redemption. We are redeemed because of God’s mercy. Mercy means God is not going to give to those who are born again what we deserved. Because of Jesus we have received grace, which is getting something we did not deserve. But as a child of God you must know who you are in Christ if you are going to overcome this accuser who will try to convince you that you are nothing and certainly not deserving of what God desires for your life.

Notice it tells us in verse 12 above that the believers overcome this lying accuser by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and not loving their life to the death. These are three of the most important elements in keeping satan from devouring you from what you have already been redeemed from.

Rom. 5:9 Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God.

One of the most important keys to not giving satan place in your life is to now know who you are in Christ. In Romans 5 here we see that we are now justified by Christ’s blood. This is very significant when you understand the importance of what that actually means. The term justified means to be declared right with God. As the Amplified here says, you were brought into right relationship with God. There are four very powerful truths that make up our right standing with God, and you must know these truths to combat satan’s lies when he is trying to devour your life by convincing you to find your worth in people’s approval, or in what you do instead of what Christ has done. He also works to convince people that they deserve punishment for what they have done, or that they are worthless and cannot change. The blood of Christ did something to change all of that.

The four foundations upon which our righteousness stand are, justification, reconciliation, propitiation, and regeneration. Justification means we are accepted by God, we can do nothing to earn our acceptance. Reconciliation means we are approved by God for we have been restored into an intimate relationship with Christ. Propitiation means Jesus bore the punishment we deserved, God is not punishing us, and regeneration means you are a new creation, and now old things can pass away and all things can become new. Because of this you are not hopeless for you can change anything about your life.

This is what you and I must know was accomplished when the blood of Jesus was shed for us. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb, knowledge of who we are in Christ because of our right standing with Him. What the devil will try to do as a roaring lion is convince you that you are not accepted by God, not approved by Him, He is punishing you for what you have done, and your situation is hopeless for you cannot change. These accusations must be confronted with revelation knowledge of what the blood of Jesus has done for you.

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

We overcome by the word of our testimony. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. You must also recognize the importance of your words. James chapter 3 tells us that our words are what determine the course our life takes. The key to dealing with our words is what we are putting into our hearts. You are not going to overcome satan by feeding continually on all the worldly things around you and then defeat the lies of this roaring lion when he begins to fill your thought life with things contrary to the Word of God.

This is why satan has worked so diligently to take control of what you see on television, hear on radio, and listen to through the many forms of media and wrong friends. If your heart has an abundance of worldly things going in, then that is what is going to come out. Your words determine your future. Your words determine whether you are going to walk in the life of God, or the death of the world. We must realize that what we listen to has everything to do with what our outcome in life will be like. Remember we are supposed to resist satan steadfast in the faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Everything that is of this world is out to strip you of your faith in God by robbing you of the Word of God.

Whenever we face thoughts or challenges from this roaring lion that is trying to devour our life, we must respond with what scripture says. This is exactly what Jesus did every time He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Jesus responded each time with, “It is written”. He is our example. If you want to defeat this enemy of ours and give him no place in your life you are going to need the Word in your heart, and in your mouth, especially when you are under attack from this accuser of the brethren.

Matt. 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Matt. 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Last but not least we must not love our lives all the way to the grave. If we are unwilling to follow after Jesus, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, we are going to be taken advantage of in this life. You must lose your life to find true life. This simply means you must lay down your old ways of thinking and doing, you must get focused on serving the Lord with your life, and developing your relationship with Him. If you don’t you are going to be mislead in life.

So don’t give satan any opportunity in your life. Beware of false teachers and doctrines that just tickle peoples ears, beware of the subtlety of satan working through the worldly things around us, and beware of this roaring lion who will try to falsely accuse you. We can keep satan out of our life if we just stay alert and pay attention to the way he works.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

2/18/13 – “GIVE SATAN NO PLACE” – PART 2

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Eph. 4:27 Don’t give the devil any opportunity ‹to work›.

Last week we began talking about what we need to do to give satan no place in our lives. His primary target in our life is our soul, which is made up of our mind, will, and emotions. If the devil can change our way of thinking, getting us to think like the world, he can change the course of our life. In fact, before getting born again most of us were already conditioned to do so. That is why we must renew our minds to think now like God thinks. What satan has been a work doing is in infiltrating every part of society for the purpose of conditioning our minds to think contrary to God. There are three primary ways he works to do so.

2 Cor. 2:11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

It is important as a believer to realize the ways in which satan tries to take control our lives. If you will look at the last part of verse 11 above you see that Paul states he was not ignorant of satan’s devices, for if we are, satan can then take advantage of us. That is why we need to understand how he works so that we can keep him from getting control over us through deception and seduction by taking control of our soul. As we began to discuss last week he comes in one of three ways. As a serpent, as an angel of light, or like a roaring lion. We already covered in part one of this series how he comes as an angel of light. This week we will take a look at how satan comes like a serpent.

2 Cor. 11:3 But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

The work of satan as a serpent is very subtle and seducing. The purpose is to get the believer to no longer be wholeheartedly, sincere, and devoted to following after Christ. To follow after Christ is to live like Jesus lived. Talking like Him, acting like Him, walking in His very example. Jesus Himself said that He did nothing except what He saw the Father doing. If we are going to remain devoted in following Christ, that means we are going to do the things we see Him doing, and we are not going to willfully do the things Jesus would not do. We will live a pure and sincere life of following in His footsteps. This is what many believers today call “bondage” or being “old school”. Yet the very heart of Christianity is in fact to be Christ-like.

Notice in 2 Corinthians 11:3 that how satan achieves this is in deceiving people in their thinking so that he can corrupt their minds. This corruption is a slow process that takes place slowly over time. Because it is not immediate in its actions, many don’t even realize that it is happening. The word for corrupted here means to decay. If you have ever seen an old car that someone purchased to restore, one of the things you will find is rust. Rust is something that takes place over years and years of time, slowly eating away at the metal until it is gone.

This is how satan as a serpent works to corrupt our minds, slowly conditioning people to the ways of the world where little by little they begin to change the way they think and even what they believe. They begin to slowly change their view of scripture and what God says. Where the church clearly understood the importance of guarding their lives from things that God said we should have nothing to do with, they now accept such things through many forms of entertainment and social media, claiming that such things are neither harmful nor wrong, yet the Bible says otherwise. This corruptive work is all around us through television, radio, and just about every form of social media.

Eph. 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
Eph. 5:9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
Eph. 5:10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
Eph. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
Eph. 5:12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

These verses are quite clear and yet it seems that many ministers want to throw them out of the Bible. We are to have NO FELLOWSHIP WITH THE UNFRUITFUL WORKS OF DARKNESS. Too many believers don’t seem to understand that if you fellowship with darkness, then darkness is going to have a negative impact on your life. The reason satan wants to corrupt your mind is so that he can control your outcome. He wants to dictate how you live and what you do. If he can get you to fellowship with darkness he is on the way to achieving his goal.

To fellowship with darkness means to participate in such activity. How does satan get Christians minds corrupted to the point of accepting behavior and then participating in behavior that is damaging to one’s life? He does so through the mind. His subtle approach is getting us to watch programs and build friendships with others who are already living in such behavior. We think nothing of these things, especially many of the television shows and movies that people watch today because after all it is just entertainment.

The word “entertain” comes from a Latin word which means, “To hold inside”. Whatever you entertain your mind with begins to take hold of you on the inside. It begins to control the way you think, the way you feel, and it effects the decisions you make. If you are being entertained by the works of darkness then after a while what do you think will be the result? This again is seen by many as a form of bondage to actually live in line with the Word of God. But if we choose to allow satan to corrupt our minds through forms of entertainment that are filled with works of darkness, we will begin to be conditioned to think like the world instead of thinking like God.

For example many today who say they are a Christian see nothing wrong with having sex before marriage, or even living together before getting married. Yet this is called fornication and is still a sin in the eyes of God. Others see nothing wrong with using foul language or going out to nightclubs and partying with sinners. Where do Christians learn such behavior and think that it doesn’t matter? One such place is again through the different forms of media we have around us every day.

There is very little on television or in the movie industry today that is not influenced with satan’s deceptive works. You see people having sex outside of marriage, living in adultery, drinking, doing drugs, being disrespectful to parents, disrespectful to elders, and to God. This continual onslaught of entertainment slowly corrupts one’s mind to accept these things as an acceptable part of culture and therefore an acceptable part of their lifestyle. You even have ministers telling their congregations that the Word of God is not relevant for today. Yet God said His Word will never pass away.

Realize this is all a work of the devil to condition people’s minds to begin to accept such things as an acceptable behavior. This is what he did to Eve by convincing her that if she were to partake of the fruit of the tree God said they were not to eat, she would not die, and in fact she would become like God. Through his continual conversation with her, he was able to convince her it was okay to do something God said would be destructive to her life. The devil has not changed. He is still doing the same thing today. He is at work through our modern sinful culture convincing people that doing what God said not to do is really okay.

Prov. 22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards his soul will be far from them.   

Those who choose to accept satan and his lies through his corrupting work by not guarding their soul will eventually experience thorns and snares in their life. The soul is referring here to your mind, will, and emotions. If you don’t guard against the works of darkness that subtly in the name of entertainment begin to effect the way you think, then you will become ensnared by sin or see thorns growing up in your soul which Jesus said will choke out the seed of God’s Word in our life.

Snares are traps that are just waiting for their next victim to come along and get caught into it’s trap so that it can take hold of your life and begin to control how you live. Thorns Jesus described as the cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things, which will choke the very life out of God’s Word that is planted in our hearts. In doing so we won’t experience godly fruit in our life, but instead that of darkness.

If you want to keep this subtle serpent from taking control of your thoughts and in doing so then controlling your life, you must guard your soul. You must take time to consider what you are watching and listening too. You must also recognize who you are spending your time with, for other people will also have an impact on how you think as well. If you guard you soul from this subtle work of satan then he cannot corrupt your mind and get control of your life.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

2/4/13 – “GIVE SATAN NO PLACE” – PART 1

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Eph. 4:27 Don’t give the devil any opportunity ‹to work›.

One of the keys to succeeding as a believer is you must know who your enemy is, how he works, and what you must do to give him no opportunity in your life. The devil would like nothing more than for believers to remain ignorant of how he works, and what he is up to because for those who are ignorant of his ways, he can then work in one’s life to deceive and seduce bringing about his ultimate desire, which is to take control of your life.

First and foremost we must understand what satan’s primary target is in the lives of people. When you understand what that target is and then learn how he works you can fulfill what the apostle Paul stated here in Ephesians 4:27 and give him no such opportunity to work in your life. His target is the soul of man. The soul is made up of our mind, will, and emotions. If he can get your soul reprogrammed to think, act, and feel the way he wants you to then he has control of what goes on in areas of your life.

Scripture reveals to us very clearly in James chapter three that the tongue of man is what determines the course one’s life will take. This is why Jesus said to the Pharisees of His day that it was not what one put in their mouth as food that defiled or in other words brought destruction to man, it was what comes out of his mouth. This is determined by what you think, and what you think on will determine your set of values or beliefs in this life. Those beliefs will come out through your words, which in turn will come to pass in your life.

The devil knows this and so he has been at work since the beginning of the fall to infiltrate the mind of man so that he can get control of their life. Satan is out to steal, kill, and destroy, but the primary thing he wants to steal from the believer, put to death in their life and completely destroy, is their faith in God. If satan can get you to think and feed on things that are contrary to the Word of God he can begin to get into your belief system. This is being seen very evident in the church today as the church as a whole in many ways looks nothing like the church of Jesus’ day. The world and its ways have now crept into the church when in fact God’s intention was for this to be the other way around. The church was supposed to infiltrate society.

When you begin to talk today about things that scripture clearly states about what God expects of His church you immediately get people saying things like, “That is old school, not relevant for today,” or “I am saved by grace you can’t put that bondage on me.” I am fully aware that man-made religion has also imposed on man things that God never did impose on us, yet today we see more of the world in the church then we do of God. Church in many cases has become all about attracting people to become a part of a social club in which we won’t deal with areas that God wants to change in their life because we don’t want to offend anyone.

People will often refer to Matthew 18:7 where Jesus warned us saying, “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” What most don’t realize is that the word “offense” means leading one into sin. For people to get offended because you preach the Word of God to them does not mean that you are violating what this verse says, for even Jesus had people get offended in His own home town and many other places for just telling them what the Father said was true.

I bring all this up because it will help us to see the first of three ways satan works to get into our lives and control our thinking. Far too many pastors and churches have begun to drift away from all the teachings of Jesus Christ and the disciples. Paul said the man who preached any other gospel than what he preached should be accursed. He also told the leaders at Ephesus before he went to Rhome that he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. Paul also told Timothy, who was the pastor at Ephesus, that what he had heard from Paul’s preaching he was to share and to pass on to other faithful men who would preach the same thing. Yet today we now have ministers that are saying not everything Paul said applies to us.

On top of that we have a very watered down gospel that is not producing great disciples of Christ, but instead just buildings with big social gatherings. Disciples of Jesus go out and do what He did. They proclaim the gospel with those around them. They cast out demons if so presented the opportunity to do so. They lay hands on the sick and those sick people recover. If the Lord so calls upon them they will raise the dead, and they will even speak with new tongues. These are the very things that Jesus said would be signs that will follow the believer.

Unfortunately if you asked the average believer in church today if they have done any of these things they would have to say no. That is a sad thing to hear when Jesus declared that he who believes in Him would do the same things He did. Time for the church to wake up from the lying half true deceptions they are being fed and become a powerful force filled with faith and the Holy Spirit that is impacting and changing lives with more than just a message of love. People need to know God loves them but the disciple’s primary way of revealing that was no different than what Jesus did. They did the same works He did.

2 Cor. 11:13 For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ (the Messiah).
2 Cor. 11:14 And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light;
2 Cor. 11:15 So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds.

So here we have the first of three ways that satan tries to take advantage of people and deceive or seduce them into teachings that are actually contrary to scripture, or lacking of the whole truth, which is just as bad as having no truth at all. He comes as an angel of light. Paul speaks here of those who are actually false apostles, who were claiming to be workers of God, but in fact they were not. Today we have many who are claiming to be ministers of God who are teaching things that go completely contrary to scripture. One such minister has even written a book declaring that no one will go to hell all will go to heaven.

So as 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that even satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, and that these false teachers are his servants propagating false doctrines that are in fact misleading people further away from the Word of God, not further into the Word. This is what Paul also described to Timothy as well in his second letter to this young pastor.

2 Tim. 4:3 For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,
2 Tim. 4:4 And will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.

Here we have a description of these last days “angels of light” who are really being used by satan to mislead and deceive people through a reduction of the scriptures to satisfy people’s lifestyles that in fact are not in line with what scripture teaches us. Remember the reason for this is so that satan can indoctrinate people with a watered down or perverted view of scripture so he can simply take advantage of their life.

What gives place to this type of deception? Paul tells us in verse three. It is due to people who will not tolerate sound and wholesome teaching from God’s Word because they don’t want to change. They instead want ministers to only tell them things that are pleasing and gratifying to their flesh so that they can satisfy their own way of living. As a believer you have to ask yourself is that how God wants us to live our lives? Did He die to become our sugar daddy and just give us whatever we want? Jesus died to deliver us from the old nature. That involves a complete change from how and who we used to live for.

Before being born again we were actually under the influence of satan through a fallen nature, but once born again we can now be freed from the old nature and it’s ways walking in what the Bible calls “newness of life”, or a new way of living. It is a life that is brought under complete control of God in which we learn how to fully trust Him with our lives as we become His servants doing His will here on earth.

For us to give satan no place in this area of our life we must make the choice to fully serve God with all our hearts, building our relationship with Him. That is what the heart of Christianity is all about. Getting to know God and then making Him known. Doing what Jesus Himself did. Don’t allow satan to take advantage of your life. Believe the whole Bible. Believe who it says you are and what you can do and don’t fall prey to the false ministers of the day.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

1/28/13 – “PRINCIPLES OF FAITH”

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Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Faith is a subject that you can never truly exhaust or learn all about because faith is something that should be continually increasing in the life of a believer. One of the things we must do is make sure we are actually walking in the faith of God and not a worldly type of faith. The faith of the world has to see something before it can believe it. The God-kind of faith believes when it cannot yet see it.

I want to share some very powerful and timeless truths about faith. Like anything in life it is easy to drift away from what true faith really is. Many times I hear believers who say they are believing God for something, but then when you hear them speak or see what they are doing in relationship to what they are believing for it becomes evident that often they are not in Bible faith. Faith is what connects us with God, and so it is vitally important to make sure we are walking in the principles of Bible faith.

Not walking in Bible faith would be similar to getting a car that has no tires or wheels. You sit in the car, start it up, and rev up the engine but you go nowhere. The intended purpose of the car is not being utilized because you are lacking a significant part of the car. So it is with faith, for if you have parts of it working but are missing some of the elements that make faith work, it won’t accomplish it’s intended purpose in your life.

FAITH IS OUR EVIDENCE OF WHAT IS NOT YET SEEN
As Heb. 11:1 states faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. I want to start by focusing on this last statement first. Another translation of this part of the verse states that faith convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. That is what evidence does. If you think about a court case for example, for the jury to be convinced of something they did not actually witness they must have evidence to prove to them what is actually true. This is what faith does for the believer. Faith is the evidence that convinces the believer that what God’s Word says is true.

FAITH IS NOW – IT IS NOT HOPE
This brings me to another key principle about faith. Faith is now, not something we are yet expecting to happen. Hope is future tense, faith is present tense. Most believers who think they are walking by faith are actually walking by hope not faith. For example you could pray with someone for healing and after words say, “Are you healed?” They often then respond, “I sure hope so.”

Hope is what faith connects with, but faith then changes our hope into something we now have, even when it cannot yet be seen. That is difficult for the human mind to often grasp, but that is how the God-kind of faith works. The word hope in the Bible is defined as an expectation; it is something you can expect because God’s Word says it is so. Faith then takes what you now know you can expect from God and receives it as if it was already done.

You can see the difference in what is a worldly type of faith as opposed to the God-kind of faith when Thomas, who was not initially present with the disciples after Jesus had been raised from the dead and appeared to them, said to the disciples that he would not believe Jesus was alive until he could see his hands, feet, and side. Jesus then appears in their midst again with Thomas present and He tells Thomas to feel His body for himself. Jesus then said to him that he had believed because he had seen, but blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed. If you want to get blessed by God you must do so by faith, and that takes believing it is so before you can see or feel anything.

FAITH PUTS US IN FULL AGREEMENT WITH GOD
If you look now at Hebrews 11:6 you will see that it is impossible to please God without faith. This is an interesting and powerful statement about faith. The word “please” here is actually defined as being in agreement with. You see faith does not change God, faith changes us. When you get in faith you come into full agreement with what God has said. You again see what you are believing for as already done. That is why the promises we have in scripture based on what Jesus has done for us are always past tense. For example, by His stripes you WERE healed, not going to be one day. God sees all that Christ has done for us as a completed work, so when we get in faith then we see it the same as He does, a completed work.

Rom. 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (NKJ)
Rom. 10:17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself). (AMP)

FAITH COMES BY HEARING
This is a very familiar text for anyone who has ever heard about faith and how we get faith. We are initially all given a measure of faith as scripture clearly reveals, but we can increase the faith we have. We do so by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. What I like about the Amplified and several other translations on this verse is the fact that it more definitively tells us a key to building our faith.

The Amplified states that this faith comes through the preaching or proclamation of the message that came from the lips of Jesus Himself. This is important when it comes to our ability to receive and walk in what God desires for us to have and to do because of what Christ did for us. We must focus much of our time on the Words of Christ, and all that the New Testament reveals we have through Christ Jesus.

Recognize here that our faith is built on the preaching of this message. This does not mean that faith will only come from being in church hearing the Word preached. It means that when we hear the Words of Christ and all He has done proclaimed then our faith will get stronger. You can proclaim God’s Word to yourself and this is a very important key to growing your faith. If you want to see your faith become stronger you must begin to consistently speak over your life and confess out loud to yourself what scripture says you have as a promise of being a born again child of God. The more you do the more your faith will grow.

You must also make sure you are not constantly listening to things that then go contrary to what God’s Word says. To do so is to allow what the Bible calls thorns to get into your heart and those thorns will choke out the Word that you have sown in your heart, and that Word will thus produce no fruit in your life. So it is not only important what you are saying, but it is also important what you are listening to. You need to address both areas in your life if you want faith to grow.

James 2:26 A body that doesn’t breathe is dead. In the same way faith that does nothing is dead.

FAITH HAS CORRESPONDING ACTION
Remember a key to faith means we are convinced that we have what the Bible has promised as a present possession even when we can’t see it. So when faith is actually released through our words declaring the promises of God over our life, then faith acts. As a body without breath, which actually refers to our spirit has no life, so it is with faith that does nothing. When a persons spirit leaves their body that body will cease to function. It will lay lifeless. This is what also happens to faith when there is no action following ones faith.

If you believe for example you are healed then you are going to act in line with one who is healed. You don’t wait until you feel healed, nor do you wait until you see a change in your body. You can’t fake faith, and by that I mean you can’t think that if you act that will prove you have faith. But if you have faith then you are convinced that your body is already healed. If you are convinced of this then you will act upon what you know is true even when you have not seen nor felt any evidence in the natural.

This is often hard for people to do but it is exactly what James is talking about when it comes to faith. Many are waiting to feel or see something before they act. This is not faith, but instead hope. One such instance in the New Testament was when ten lepers came to Jesus to be healed. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priest, which you would not do so unless you were healed. The Bible says as they went they were cleansed of their leprosy.

So make sure you are walking in the principles of Bible faith. It is then that you will see the results that God’s Word promises. Often we are missing a simple element of faith and that is why we are not getting anywhere. Use the faith you have, keep feeding on the Word, and watch your faith grow and produce great things.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

1/21/13 – “WHAT IS A TRUE CONVERT?”

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Acts 3:19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

Last week I shared a message about false converts. Unfortunately there are many who believe they are Christians, which means one who follows Christ’s example, but have never had a true conversion experience. When you do have a true conversion experience you are a convert in Christ. The word converted here in this verse means you have turned your life around and done a 180 and are now walking after God.

The concern I have for many who say they are Christians is that they may not realize they are false converts. Jesus did not die to give us a “ticket to heaven”. Jesus died to change our life here on earth and provide us the way to heaven. Do we really think based on all of what scripture reveals of how God wants to transform our life that we are to pray a prayer and not see change in our lifestyle? Should we still look and act like those who don’t know God at all? Not according to scripture.

Matt. 12:33 “Make a tree good, and then its fruit will be good. Or make a tree rotten, and then its fruit will be rotten. A person can recognize a tree by its fruit.

I hear people saying today that we should not be concerned about the way people live, but if you read what Jesus said here we should. To tell people that their lifestyle really doesn’t matter because after all God loves you is not telling the whole truth. God does love you and He will never stop loving us, for He has loved us with an everlasting love. That is not the issue at all. But what some are not addressing is what the scriptures do address, and that is if you have come to receive Christ into your life there should be a change. If there is no such change we should find out why. Anyone who loves you and cares about you is simply wanting to make sure you are not a false convert.

Jesus said it clearly here in Matthew 12; if you make the tree good its fruit will be good. A person can recognize a tree by its “fruit”. If the person has not had a true conversion experience then guess what you are going to continue to see? You will see bad fruit, the same type of fruit that a sinner produces because if they have not been truly converted they are still a sinner. Yes there are carnal Christians who did see a change but chose to go back to the ways of the flesh, or have been deceived through their lifestyle back into sin. No one is perfect on the outside, that is a given, but please read the whole Bible which teaches us in 2 Corinthians 7:1 we are to cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and we are to perfect holiness in the fear of God. Some seem to have forgotten these verses are in the Bible.

So those who address such issues and are sincere in their motives of trying to help people walk in newness of life are not trying to beat people up with the Bible, nor are we saying we are better than others, because every believer is the same in the eyes of God. But our concern is for those who truly have never had a conversion experience and are therefore separated from God. This will explain for some why they have never seen their lives change, and why they don’t love God’s house, God’s Word, and the things of God. You get your heart changed by falling in love with God and these things become something you enjoy doing, they are not a religious chore. So what does it take to become a true convert?

2 Cor. 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.  

Look at this scripture carefully as we shared this last week because it is the key to a true conversion experience. If you, after seeing the sinful nature within which is revealed through God’s law have godly sorrow, then repentance will be an automatic by product of that godly sorrow. Godly sorrow PRODUCES REPENTANCE, which is a change of mind, change of heart, change of lifestyle. But the sorrow of the world leads to death. The sorrow of the world means you are sorry you got caught, but you don’t really have a desire to change.

Matt. 19:16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
Matt. 19:17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Matt. 19:18 He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, ““You shall not murder,’ “You shall not commit adultery,’ “You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’
Matt. 19:19 “Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
Matt. 19:20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
Matt. 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Matt. 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Here we have a perfect example of what 2 Corinthians defines as worldly sorrow. This rich young ruler found out that his money was his god and he was unwilling to give up his god to receive Jesus as the Lord of his life. This produces death, which scripturally refers to being separated from God. Notice that when Jesus revealed the fact that money was his god he went away sorrowful. Today if someone dealt with you about having another god in your life most people would say you are being to critical or harsh. But Jesus was showing this young man what he needed to do to change and enter into the kingdom of God.

When people see the true nature of their sin they don’t always want to turn from such a lifestyle. You cannot just come to an altar, pray a prayer, and think I am going to heaven because after all I believe in God and prayed a prayer. This man believed in God and if Jesus would have just asked him to pray a prayer to enter the kingdom he would have done so. But if that is what Jesus would have asked him to do he would not have been a true convert because we see clearly he does not have godly sorrow. People don’t understand that it is not just a prayer that gets you born again. Without godly sorrow there is no repentance produced. No desire to change you mind, change your heart, and change your lifestyle.

Most people want to be introduced to Jesus and think they are therefore born again but don’t want to change. They want to keep living the way they always have as a sinner, chasing the same fleshly carnal desires, in love with the world and the things of the world, which scripture says if this is true of your life then the love for the Father is not in you. If you don’t have a love for the Father you are not going to repent, turn your life around and change your lifestyle with God’s help. Many have met Jesus Christ, but have not been dealt with according to their sin to find out if they have godly sorrow. In fact many ministers today and believers say we should not address people’s sins, but Jesus did. If they don’t realize they are a sinner, and if they don’t then have godly sorrow, there will be no conversion as scripture clearly teaches.

John 4:15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
John 4:16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
John 4:17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’
John 4:18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
John 4:19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
John 4:25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
John 4:26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

Here we have Jesus coming to a woman at the well of Sychar. He speaks about water that she could get that does not have to be drawn from this natural well. She wants to know where it comes from. He then deals with her by a word of knowledge that she is living in adultery. She did not walk away sorrowful like the rich young ruler, instead she acknowledges that He is a prophet. Then notice what she says in verse 25. She knew that the Messiah, the deliverer was to come, and when He did He would tell us how to get free from our sins. Jesus reveals Himself to her and declares I am He. Jesus did not do so for the rich young ruler. This is godly sorrow. She wanted to turn from her sin but knew that could not happen until the Messiah would come.

We need to make sure people, including ourselves have actually had godly sorrow in our life.  If we have then repentance was produced and that is what leads us to salvation. This is what must take place in our lives for one to become a true convert in Christ. Without godly sorrow there is no repentance and therefore no change. Make sure you are a true convert and then keep chasing after God with all your heart and you will see you life transformed by God. That is what being born again is all about.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

1/14/12 – “ARE YOU A FALSE CONVERT?”

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2 Cor. 13:5 Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?

Most people who see my title this week would probably automatically say they are not a false convert and for most I believe that is true, but it is important even if you are not one to understand that there are many false converts who need to know the truth about salvation. I have seen many examples of this. One that comes to mind is a gentleman who in our church is being raised up as a teacher of God’s Word. At a very young age he prayed a prayer at the altar, but by his own confession never notice any change in his life. He went on to live a life of sin and destruction up until several years ago.

He began to realize his life was not headed in a good direction. He also became very honest with himself about his sin. In doing so he cried out to God and repented of his sin, ask God to take his life, and he has never been the same since. After that time he had a hunger for the Word of God, and a hunger to get into God’s house and grow in his walk with God. This hunger had never been the before. He has since realized that all he did that day as a young boy was say some words; there never was any godly sorrow in his heart.

You will find out that there is no reference to a “sinners prayer” in the Bible. What one actually does in being born again is to invoke the lordship of Jesus Christ in their life (check out Rom. 10:13). When you come to Christ you call upon the name of the Lord. You were the lord of your life, but now you invoke His lordship. He now becomes the Lord (Supreme in authority) over your life. As Paul states above we need to examine ourselves to make sure we are not counterfeits. Doing so can obviously mean the difference between eternal life and eternal death.

2 Cor. 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Scripture teaches us that without repentance there is no salvation. Repentance simply means a change of mind, change of heart, and a change of direction. There is no true change where there is no repentance. It is shocking today how many ministers and believers don’t want to hear about nor use the word repentance, and yet Jesus Himself declared, “Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand”.

This verse from 2 Corinthians is a powerful verse that reveals to us the most important element in someone receiving the salvation God offers. The key is godly sorrow. Godly sorrow produces repentance. Stop and think about this for a minute. If you have godly sorrow an automatic by-product is going to be repentance. That repentance is going to lead you to salvation. Acts 3:19 says to repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out. If there is no repentance then there is no true conversion. You are not a convert of Christ without repentance so therefore you would be a false convert.

A false convert would be someone who thinks they have been converted but in fact never had godly sorrow. If they did not have godly sorrow there could be no repentance, therefore no salvation. As 2 Corinthians 7:10 also reveals there is worldly sorrow which produces death. Simply put, one who has worldly sorrow will feel bad about being caught in sin, but they are not willing to give up their lordship over their life. This produces death, which simply means you are still separated from God. God is life, and when you repent (change of mind, change of heart, change of lifestyle) you enter into new life, or conversion. You being then born again start to convert, turn from the world’s ways and turn to God’s ways.

Matt. 3:8 Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart];

John the Baptist in dealing with the sinners of his day declared that one should bring forth fruit in their life that is consistent with repentance. Our lives should be living proof that we have had a change of heart. Modern day preachers call this legalistic, but there is nothing legalistic about it. You are not earning your salvation, you through godly sorrow have a desire to turn from the old ways of the flesh and turn to God. This today is a missing message from most of the pulpits of America, but Jesus Himself declared there was not a greater preacher born of women then John the Baptist. So if that is true shouldn’t preachers today follow in that example?

If we do not declare the whole truth of God’s Word we are only deceiving people. Then as we watch people who claim to be Christians live like sinners live, think like sinners think, and bear the fruits of sinners; we are told that it doesn’t matter because after all we are covered by God’s grace. Grace wasn’t given to cover our sin grace removed the sin that was within our spirit. Grace is a teacher as stated in Titus 2:11-12 that teaches us to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age. We need ministers of the Word to stop tickling people’s itching ears and speak the truth of the gospel that liberates people from their sin, and does not give them an excuse to continue living in what Jesus died to deliver us from.

We know this is a process, but it should not take people years and years to become as Titus states godly, and live a sober life, which simply means we should live with restraint when it comes to our flesh. You see the real issue with many today who think they are saved and yet do not exhibit the fruits of a changed life within is the fact that they are not truly born again. That is why they cannot seem to overcome the sinful ways of the flesh. That is why many do not have a desire to obey God’s commands and walk in the light of the Word. Scripture reveals the Word of God is foolishness to those who are perishing. It is no wonder then why many so struggle “trying” to live a godly life. It should become a part of our nature from within that changes us on the outside.

Rom. 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

So how does one find out if they have godly sorrow or worldly sorrow? Next week I will share in detail how Jesus Christ Himself witnessed the gospel to people and I will show you the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. I know of very few believers who actually witness to people the way Jesus did. He said if we would follow Him He would make us fishers of men.

As Romans 3:20 reveals the law given to Moses, which here represents the 10 Commandments was for the purpose of revealing the knowledge of sin. Most people if asked think they are going to heaven because they believe that they are a good person. But as you will see next week Jesus said there are none good but one, God. He was simply stating that no one is good enough on their own merit to go to heaven. Once someone through the law sees their sin you will find out if they have godly sorrow or worldly sorrow. They are going to either justify their sin or acknowledge it is something they are not proud of. They will have a desire to turn from that sin and get free from it, not continue to justify their right to sin. This is the key difference. A believer in Christ may still deal with strongholds in their life, but they don’t willfully justify their sin.

Gal. 3:22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Gal. 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.
Gal. 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal. 3:25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

The law was given so that when Christ came people would be able to see their sin, and in doing so the law would be a tutor to bring us to Christ so that we could be justified by faith. As soon as one sees that sinful nature and if they have godly sorrow repentance is automatically produced. They will have a desire to turn to God. Change of mind, which will lead them to a change of heart, which will lead to a change of lifestyle.

2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Some will say, “Yes, but we are just an old sinner saved by grace.” You must not have read this verse of scripture. If you are in Christ you are a new creation, not an old sinner. Yes we have a sinful nature in the flesh to deal with, but that new creation within will lead us to bear fruits worthy of repentance, which is all things becoming new. New words coming out of our mouth, new thoughts in our minds, new actions lived out. So examine yourself and make sure you have the witness of the Holy Spirit within. Time to make sure we are not counterfeit Christians. Join me next week, as we will show the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

01/07/13 – “GETTING A GODLY HARVEST”

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Mark 4:14 The sower sows the word.
Mark 4:15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Mark 4:16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mark 4:17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.
Mark 4:18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
Mark 4:19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Mark 4:20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

One of the best ways to start your New Year is to make sure you have a heart that is good ground so that as you continue to plant the seed of God’s Word in your life it will produce a godly harvest. This is something that we must pay attention to all the time for just as soil must continually be tilled, rocks removed, and weeds gotten rid of, so do our hearts need consistent attention given to them so that we are producing fruit unto our God. This week we will examine the four different heart conditions spoken of here in the parable of the sower.

1. WAYSIDE GROUND
The first of the four heart conditions Jesus speaks of is wayside soil. One who is wayside soil is someone who gives little regard to the Word of God. Because they do so, satan is able to come immediately and take away that seed which is sown. Realize how important the condition of our heart is in seeing the life of God grow up and manifest in our lives. In every one of these examples you see that satan is after the seed, because he knows all to well if it gets planted in good ground it will produce a harvest that he does not want you to have.

Heb. 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

It is obvious that most who are wayside soil really don’t have a desire to receive what God has for them. They are people who always think they know better than God. But there is something that every believer must be aware of as well because if we are not careful we too can actually not be giving proper attention to God’s Word. As Hebrews 2:1 states that we must give the “MORE EARNEST HEED” to the things we “HAVE HEARD” or we may drift away. Think about what that is saying to us. One of the ways satan robs us from the seed of God’s Word comes when we have already heard scripture before, and we think because we know it we are still heeding it.

We must give the more earnest heed to what we have heard because human nature has a tendency to not put as much effort into something that becomes routine. But like anything in life we tend to not put forth the effort in something when we take it for granted. If you don’t keep on heeding God’s Word it will not work for you, so be careful not to take the Word of God for granted. Doing so could open up opportunity for satan to snatch the seed out of your heart. You don’t plant one time and harvest the rest of your life. You keep planting and harvesting.

2. STONY GROUND
The stony ground heart is one that hears the Word and receives it gladly, but notice when persecution or tribulation come they go down. They have no root in themselves and when the storms of life hit they are not connected to the source of strength that comes from God’s Word. As it states in Mark 4:17 these are people who have no root in themselves. Stony ground people are hearers of the Word, but they are not doers. Take a look at the following verses.

Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
Luke 6:47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like.
Luke 6:48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
Luke 6:49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

A stony ground believer is not doing what God’s Word says. They are not getting their life founded on the Word of God, which can only be done by applying God’s Word. For those who are not doers of the Word when the storms come they will go down, but for those who hear and do what scripture says they will have root in themselves through God’s Word and they will not fall when storms come because they have established a root system that will hold them up in the midst of persecution and tribulations. James even said a doer of the Word is the one who will be blessed.

3. THORNY GROUND
Next we find in Mark 4:18-19 what Jesus describes as those who have thorny ground. Those thorns consist of the cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and desires for other things. These thorns enter into where the good seed was sown and they choke out the Word of God. Stop and think about who is it that is continually caught up in these three things? It should not be believers.

The cares of this world refer to allowing the burdens and problems of life to weigh them down. The deceitfulness of riches is the deception people fall for to think that money is the answer to all their problems. Desires for other things is simply getting focused on things instead of on God and the things become what one pursues. This is obviously what worldly people do but this should not be so for a believer who knows God.

Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Gal. 6:8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

If anyone continues to sow into their lives the worldly ways of seeing and doing you are going to have these thorns in your garden. You cannot continue to feed on and fill your life with worldly television, movies, and ungodly influences and then expect to harvest the type of life God has for you. Most Christians don’t seem to understand that filling your life with such things that are filled with the works of darkness are filling your soul with doubt, unbelief, fear, and deception. If anyone does so they are going to reap corruption and not the life of God.

4. GOOD GROUND
The type of soil we want our heart to be and remain is good ground in which we hear the Word, accept it, which means to take as your own, and then we will bear fruit or a godly life. To take the Word as your own means it goes from head knowledge of the Word to revelation in your heart. Until God’s Word becomes revelation to us we don’t have it planted in our hearts. How do we take the Word from head knowledge to getting this revelation in our hearts?

Matt. 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Jesus tells us a significant key to getting God’s Word firmly planted in our hearts. Man does not experience all that life is through God by natural means of bread alone, but one must receive every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. The actual Greek Word for “Word” here is rhema. It refers to having revelation of the Word of God in your heart. This comes by feeding on God’s Word. This is the analogy that Jesus is revealing here in reference to not living by bread alone.

You feed on God’s Word by reading it, speaking it, meditating on it, and studying the Word of God. The more you do the more you are feeding on that Word. As you feed on the Word it will come alive to you by way of revelation through the Holy Spirit. As it does this will provide a harvest of the life of God in and through you. Just remember this is not a one-time thing, but something we do continually so we can consistently reap a godly harvest.

So keep your heart tilled up, keep the stones of laziness out of your garden, guard against fleshly things that want to choke the Word out, and keep feeding on God’s Word. This is how every believer in Christ can receive and continue to partake of a godly harvest in their life.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

12/31/12 – “BRINGING IN THE NEW YEAR”

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2 Cor. 13:5 Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?

As the New Year approaches it is a very important time for believers to evaluate some key areas in their life to make sure they are entering the New Year with God’s plan and purpose for their life. I remember when I was around 17 years old and my dad had rented a small plane to fly me and a friend to a rodeo with a pilot that worked for him. On our flight back I got to sit up front and once we were in the air the pilot taught me how to fly the plane. The key instrument was our altimeter. He showed me that if I don’t keep an eye on that altimeter then we could get out of the range of where we were suppose to be.

It was easy to see that if I did not keep my eyes on that altimeter we would begin to drift up or down without even realizing it had happened. This is what happens often with us as Christians if we don’t keep our eyes on our altimeter, examining our walk of faith and making sure we are staying on track with God. So I want to give you five basic things to help you bring in the New Year on track with God. These are five areas that we need to keep an eye on so we don’t drift back to the ways of the world.

 

Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

1. Examine your walk with God.

Faith is often only seen as something we use to get things. But here in Hebrews take note of the last part of this verse. We need to be those who diligently seek Him. Are we diligently seeking our God, or are we seeking other things? Are we seeking only what God can do for us, or are we seeking the relationship God desires with us? To know that we are diligently seeking Him and not the rewards that He can provide we need to check our heart to see what are we passionate about. What you are passionate about you are consumed with. It fills your thoughts and it is what motivates you each and every day. If your heart is not passionately pursing God, make a change today and chase Him, not the world nor His rewards.

 

Matt. 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
Matt. 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matt. 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

2. Examine your money.

Another area we need to make sure we have in line with Word of God is our money. Focus in here on verse 21 and 24. Where our treasure is there our heart will be also. If we don’t honor God with our money in tithes and offerings, then we are serving mammon not God. The people who get offended at this are those who are serving mammon. The problem is if we are serving mammon then we are not going to walk in faith with our God. It is a fact as Jesus clearly states here you CANNOT serve God and mammon. If you honor God with your money then money does not control your destiny, God does. So make sure you are not serving mammon in 2013.

 

Mark 11:25“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
Mark 11:26But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

3. Examine your heart toward others.

One of the most damaging things to the believer’s faith is unforgiveness. It will lead to a root of bitterness and torment from the enemy. Jesus clearly states here that if we do not forgive others, then our Father in heaven will not forgive us of our trespasses. This is serious stuff. Unforgiveness is like a cancer in the Christian. There is no reason once we are born again that we cannot forgive others no matter what they have done to us. Take a look at the following verse about what God has done for us.

Psa. 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

There is none good but one, and that would be God. For everyone who has received the mercy and grace God has shown to us through Christ Jesus, we will not get what we deserved. That is mercy. God has not dealt with those who are born again according to our sins, nor will we face the punishment we deserve. The reason is because God is looking to what Jesus did for us, not what we had done. We can do the same because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is nothing more than a choice we make to release those who have wronged us. If you have unforgiveness in your heart toward anyone and you want God’s forgiveness in your life, then make the choice to show them the same mercy God has shown you.

 

Prov. 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.
Prov. 4:24 Avoid all perverse talk; stay far from corrupt speech.
Prov. 4:25 Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Prov. 4:26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe.
Prov. 4:27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

4. Examine what you hear, see, and do.

Our heart is our spirit man. Most people don’t realize the impact of what they hear, see, and do has in relationship to them experiencing the kind of life God desires for them. As verse 23 states above your heart affects everything you do. If you listen to things that are not edifying, godly, scriptural, but feed instead on television, movies, and surround yourself with ungodly friends you are filling your heart with corrupt speech. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. James says that your words are what determine your pathway in life. So if you don’t guard your heart from perverse and corrupt things, they will corrupt you.

It is just as important to pay attention to what you see and what you do. If you are looking at things that a believer should have not part in such as pornography, books, etc., they too will affect your heart. Many women for example don’t realize that many books they read that are filled with adultery, fantasies, and ungodly lifestyles will have a negative impact on their lives. We are to look straight ahead which refers to not looking aside at what worldly people look too, and we must also pay attention to what we are doing. Scripture tells us to have NO fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, and yet many believers flirt with sin and have sinner friends who influence their behavior. Scripture reveals that the righteous choose their friends carefully, for even the wicked WILL lead them astray (Proverbs 12:26).  We should be influencing the sinner, not them influencing us.

 

Phil. 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
Phil. 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

5. Leave the past behind and press toward your future.

We need to realize that if we hold on to our past then we are not going forward into the future of what God has for us. You have to make a determined decision to let go of what is behind. No matter what you have been through or what challenges you have faced, focusing on those things that may not have worked out the way you wanted could lead you to blame God or others. God is true to His Word and when we do what the Word says, it works.

I have talked with many believers who are always bringing up the past whether it has to do with them or someone else. What they don’t realize is if they will focus on what they can do today that is in line with God’s Word instead, then they are on their way to changing their tomorrows. As Paul stated above we don’t just forget what is behind, we must press toward what is ahead. This is where our effort must be when it comes to what we do and what we are thinking about.

If you want to bring in the New Year headed into all that God has for you, then take the time to examine your walk of faith. Make sure that you are on the right course with God. Examine your walk with God, examine what your doing with your money, examine your heart toward others, examine what you hear, see, and do; and forget the past, press forward into what God has for you. 2013 can and will be an exciting year for those who stay the course with God!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

12/17/12 – “THE FREE GIFT”

gift-of-righteousness

Rom. 5:17 For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

Now days when you hear about things that are “free” there seems to always be a catch involved. When companies advertise to give you something free it usually comes with the requirement of you sharing your personal contact information, which then leads to receiving all kinds of junk email and advertisements. But there is a free gift that God offers to all through His Son Jesus Christ in which there is no catch involved. It is God simply offering to make something right that was wronged. In doing so we become the beneficiary of this wonderful “free gift” that you cannot in anyway earn.

In Romans chapter 5 we are given a comparison between Adam’s sin that lead to condemnation and Jesus offering through His sacrifice the ability to receive God’s righteousness. Righteousness is the free gift that God offers to all through what Jesus did in bearing our sin. This gift is what restored man to a place of right standing with God. For anyone who has godly sorrow, which scripture reveals produces repentance, and then leads one to salvation, they receive this gift of righteousness. You cannot do anything to earn this free gift given by God, but once you receive it you now have right standing with God, and you now have rights as His child.

Gen. 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen. 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Notice here in verse 28 that when God created man He said that man was to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. This was God’s intent for man from the beginning. When the fall of man occurred Adam gave up that dominion and in doing so did not walk in his place of authority subduing the earth. But Jesus did something about that. If you look back to our foundation verse in Romans 5:17 it states that we are to reign as kings in life through the One Jesus Christ. God wants us just as He did Adam to once again subdue this earth. The believer in Christ should be the dominant force in the earth. Life should not be ruling over us, we should be ruling over life. I am not talking about having authority over man for God has not given us such authority, but over the works of darkness and all that has come through the fall.

Why then do we not see more Christians victorious and reigning in this life? Why does it seem many are having life overcome them? There are several reasons why but one of the most important is that many don’t understand the gift of righteousness. What many believers are trying to do today is earn something that already belongs to them. You don’t earn a gift. If you get a gift you did nothing to earn it. I often tell our parents in our church family if you are going to tell your children to be good or they are not going to get any gifts this Christmas then what they would be getting is not a gift. They through their efforts are earning it. This instead would be a reward for good behavior not a gift.

Col. 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
Col. 2:7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Col. 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
Col. 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
Col. 2:10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

If anyone has godly sorrow they will turn from sin and turn to God by faith and faith alone. There is nothing I nor you could have done to receive the salvation Jesus Christ offers to us. Now in verse 6 of Colossians 2 here Paul tells us that just as we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so should we walk in Him. How did we receive Christ into our lives? By faith alone, not our personal effort or we could boast about what we had done. So how then do we walk in Him? By faith in what Jesus has done for us. If we have faith in Jesus then we are going to act upon what we believe.

Take note of what verse 7 tells us about walking in Christ. We are to be rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith. As a believer we should certainly have established ourselves in “the faith”, which means active Christianity or in other words, doing what Christ did. How do we get rooted and built up in Him? We must come to know who we are in Christ. We must learn and get revelation in our hearts from the scriptures of who Christ made us to be since we were made right with God. We are now a new creation in Christ Jesus because of our right standing with God. The gift of righteousness is what came as a result of our being recreated in the image and likeness of God.

Paul goes on to state that you must beware for there are those who will try to cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit. He tells us in that later part of this verse what that refers to. Philosophy refers to the traditions of man. There are many traditions, religious traditions that man has come up with that do not line up with the Bible. These traditions will rob us of understanding who we are in Christ. He also refers to empty deceit, which come from the basic principles of the world. Many people today want what God has for them but yet they are still living according to the principles of the world. These principles come from the god of this world, which 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us is satan. Once you are born again you don’t want to continue in the principles of the world for they will not lead to what God has for you.

Matt. 11:28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matt. 11:29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matt. 11:30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

To walk in your rights as a child of God you cannot earn the inheritance God has provided for you, but you must learn how to become a partaker of what is yours. In verse 28 here Jesus in referring to those who labor are going to be heavy laden. This referred to those who were trying to establish their own righteousness through their personal efforts. You cannot do so. He tells us that we are to come to Him and He will give us rest for our souls. Notice He said He would give us this rest you don’t earn it. Once you have received this rest, the new birth, you must then take His yoke upon you and learn from Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. This is where I believe many Christians miss it.

Some time ago I heard the Holy Spirit tell me that you do not come to earn anything from Jesus, but you must come and learn from Him how to be a partaker of what He has provided through your right standing with God. I did not know anything about walking by faith before I got born again. How could I be a partaker of what God has for my life without understanding how faith works? I have had to learn from Jesus God’s principles of doing things so that I could begin to experience what God has for my life. That is not earning anything, but learning how to do things His way.

What if you were boarding a plane and you were offered a parachute so that if for any reason the plane had problems and began to go down you could parachute to safety, yet you took no time to learn how to use it? What good would that parachute do you? It would be no good to you unless you had taken time to learn how to use it. Worse yet what if you had rejected the parachute all together? It would not be there when you needed it. If someone rejects God in their life they have chosen to do life on their own without His help. But even if we have not rejected Him are we taking time to come and learn from Him what we have a right to, and how we are to partake of our inheritance? You must learn how to become a partaker of what God has for you to receive what you have a right to as a child of God.

God has offered to all in the earth the gift of righteousness that comes as a result of someone who having godly sorrow has truly repented and turned to God. Salvation is more than a prayer one prays, salvation is making Jesus the Lord over your life and when you do then your desire is to become like Him, not like someone who is worldly or sinful. He becomes the center of our life and Who we live for. But once we are born again we have been given a great gift. The gift of righteousness cannot be earned but only received by faith in Jesus Christ. Then we are to rule and reign through Him, putting our faith in what He did and what He has accomplished for us. When we do we will truly be walking by faith and not by sight. We will also have a powerful impact on our world as we take our rightful place of dominion once again.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

12/10/12 – “THE GIFT JESUS GAVE”

Jesus -  Gift

John 17:3 Now this is eternal life–that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.

When you talk to people about eternal life they usually only think of the life for the believer in Christ that is yet to come, yet that is not what Jesus defined eternal life as. Eternal life according to His definition was to know the Father, the only true God. Another way to say this would be to know the real God. Jesus came to give to mankind a wonderful gift, eternal life. That gift of knowing God was significant in changing where we find our value or worth in life. Without knowing God we would continue to find our value and worth in the creation, and not the Creator.

Gen. 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Gen. 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

In the beginning when God created man He had made man in His own image. Man’s total worth and significance in life came from that image, the very image of God. As long as man received his worth from that image he had no problem walking in the dominion God had given him because he related who he was through God. So in the initial creation of man he originally received his identity or image from his Creator and not the creation.

Gen. 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

A couple of years ago I was looking at this verse of scripture and the Spirit of God revealed to me the first thing that man saw when he received his spirit and soul breathed into that body. He saw the face of God. This is significant because to truly get to know someone, to identify them, and in this case to then be identified with God you would have to see His face. This is where God intended for man to find his sole value and worth in life. It was to come from identifying with his Creator, God the Father, and not from the creation God had made.

Gen. 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Gen. 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Gen. 3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

When Adam and Eve committed sin and fell they died just as God said they would. That death was not physical, but refers to them being separated from their Creator. They were now going to find their value in the very creation that they bowed down too. In verse eight we find that they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden. The word “sound” here is translated “voice”. God was looking for them and they went and hid themselves from God. They had now made themselves coverings from the creation when before God was their covering.

We also see in verse eight that they hid themselves from the “presence” of the Lord God. That word presence is actually translated in the original Hebrew language as “face”. Once Adam and Eve had sinned, they were no longer one with God. They did die, but that death was actually being separated from God, who is life itself. Because of this separation man could no longer look to God’s face to gain his identity or self worth. That was now coming from the creation itself, which includes other people. This has caused all kinds of problems as the devil has worked very hard at keeping people from getting their identity from God.

Remember in the beginning of creation God told man he had dominion over all the earth. After the fall that changed, but Jesus has done something about that. The key to walking in the authority we have been given through Jesus Christ is based on where we are getting our identity. Once we learn who we are in Christ Jesus we can once again walk in our rightful place of dominion in this earth.

Ex. 33:18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
Ex. 33:19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
Ex. 33:20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”
Ex. 33:21 And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.
Ex. 33:22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.
Ex. 33:23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

We even see with Moses this very fact that after the fall man could not look to God’s face because of sin and therefore was unable to regain his identity through the Father. When Moses requested to see God’s glory in verse 18, this is translated as seeing the real you. Have you ever come up from behind someone thinking you knew who they were, but once you tapped them on the shoulder and they turned around you realized it wasn’t them? The face reveals the real you. God even tells us this as He responds to Moses’ request and says that he could not see His face. But thankfully Jesus did something about that.

Heb. 9:24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

Jesus after being raised from the dead had to ascend into heaven itself, into the tabernacle in heaven where He appeared in the presence of God for us. You may have already guessed it; the word for presence here also means the face of God. In doing this Jesus having paid the price to cleanse us from all sin provided a way for us to once again regain the image of God in our life. Through this sacrifice He made for us we can regain our worth in God, finding our identity once again in our Creator, the heavenly Father, and not in the creation. Doing so will help us to live life as Jesus did. Jesus fully identified with the Father as He declared that He and the Father were one. Knowing that they were one Jesus also tells us in the Word of God that it was not He who did the works, but the Father in Him. He walked in His rightful place of dominion and authority here on earth.

John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

So how do we then look to the face of the Father to regain our God-given identity once we are born again? Jesus tells us how. If you have seen Him you have seen the Father. When you look to the Scriptures that reveal who Jesus is you see a picture of the Father. The more you learn to relate to Jesus the more you learn to relate to your heavenly Father. As we then learn who we now are in Christ Jesus we begin to regain the image that Adam lost in the Garden of Eden. We no longer have to base our self-worth on other people, what we do, nor what we have. We don’t have to fall for the lie that we cannot change because not only can we change how we live and what we do, God expects us to.

Far too many who have had a born again experience and received Christ as their Savior are still living under the old fallen Adamic nature that was separated from God. This is not only destroying peoples lives, it is keeping the body of Christ from taking their rightful place of dominion on this earth. They are allowing themselves to be ruled by the works of darkness and the circumstances of life around them instead of reigning over life, life is reigning over them. Every believer needs to regain their total worth and value in life through their Creator, their heavenly Father.

2 Cor. 5:17 Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.

We should no longer be living our life the old way through a fallen nature, but we should now get our minds renewed to who we are in Christ Jesus. There are many such verses as these that reveal who we now are in Christ Jesus. Feeding on these scriptures will help us get our minds renewed and our lives transformed from finding our worth in the creation to finding our worth in our Creator. We can now get our image back from God and experience the gift Jesus gave.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker